The Beekeeper (2024) Review
You can add The Beekeeper to the list of action movies named for the jobs their protagonist took up after laying down their weapons and trying to live a peaceful life in my review of The Bricklayer. Actually Adam Clay (Jason Statham, Meg 2: The Trench, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) always was a beekeeper, that was the name of the elite unit he was a part of before he retired to actually raise bees. He does this on a farm owned by Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad, Creed, Empire) somewhere in a very confused part of England that wants us to believe it’s actually Western Massachusetts.
Eloise, who is supposed to be a retired teacher and should know better, falls for one of those computer scams that says you have a virus and to call this number to have it removed. As a result, she gets not only her bank account, but the one she manages for a charity looted. Out of shame for being such an idiot, she kills herself.
This scene, while meant to be serious, is actually laugh out loud funny as we see the film’s villain Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson, Five Nights at Freddy’s, The Hunger Games) strutting around his high-tech call centre, complete with a huge display showing how much they’re stealing from each victim. He personally performs the scam, exhorting the woman to enter her banking info like a televangelist telling the faithful to send their donations. It’s so ludicrously over the top and removed from reality, all you can do is laugh. It’s also not the only time The Beekeeper will go there.
Clay finds her body, and of course initially get blamed for her death, especially by the victim’s daughter FBI Agent Verona Parker (Emmy Raver-Lampman, The Umbrella Academy, Blindspotting) who is such a loving and concerned daughter she never knew her mother had leased out part of the farm. Once cleared of her death, Clay swears revenge, but that gets tricky because Derek’s mother (Jemma Redgrave, The Relief of Belsen, Dream Demon) happens to be the President of the United States of America.
Director David Ayer (Sabotage, The Tax Collector) and writer Kurt Wimmer (Expend4bles, Equilibrium) have put together a film whose entertainment value will probably depend on how much disbelief you can suspend because, even for an action film, The Beekeeper has an incredible disregard for reality. That includes a climax that sees Statham invading a Presidential function and laying waste to what seems to be the entire Secret Service to get at his target. Then he simply jumps out a window and is allowed to leisurely makes his escape. No, that’s not a spoiler, did you actually think he wouldn’t get his revenge, or that there wouldn’t be a set up for a sequel?
Statham can play roles like this in his sleep, and he appears to be doing that here. He appears even more robotic than usual as he kills time between bursts of well choreographed mayhem from his double Tom Connelly (Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, F9: The Fast Saga) and the rest of a stunt team that has almost as many members as the film’s cast. The rest of the cast also seem to be going through the motions here, with even Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, The Witcher: Blood Origin) phoning it in. The exception is Jeremy Irons (Dead Ringers, Kafka) who goes in the other direction, hamming it up as a former CIA director now working for President Danforth.
Graded just on its action scenes, The Beekeeper is an acceptable film. There’s enough well done, give or take a crappy CGI explosion, to keep it from getting dull. Unfortunately, just about everything else in this film is a mess thanks to Wimmer’s worst script since Ultraviolet. He seems to have put more effort into coming up with bee jokes than making anything in the plot believable. Unfortunately, it is all too believable that the studio thought it was worth a seven figure payout.
If you just want to see Statham take out a phone scamming outfit, which is nice to see, then The Beekeeper may give you a buzz. If you’re looking for anything else worthwhile, you’re likely to get stung.
MGM will release The Beekeeper in theatres on January 12th.